Vendaval Simracing was founded in January 2016 – with the goal to form a highly competetive simracing team while engaging every member towards the teams’ organisation. And although we approach our races in a professional manner and operate on the highest level of competition the fun and passion for racing is certainly not missing out.
With our trio of Audi R8 GT3s, we kicked off the Blancpain GT WCS 2018 with a six hour race at the treacherous Mount Panorama Circuit.
Our lineup for the round 1 consisted of:
Vendaval Yellow #13 (Juan E Lopez & Alexander Manea)
Vendaval White #9 (Santeri Kekkonen & Dekota Fripp)
Vendaval Blue #42 (Robin Esterson & Tatsuro Hashimoto)
At 13:45 GMT on March 3, the 15 minute qualifying clock began to tick. At a track like Bathurst and in a series like BGT, qualifying may very well determine the outcome of your race. In his debut of an iRacing World Championship Series, Esterson put the Vendaval Blue machine on the second row in the third position, just behind Josh Rogers and Ricardo Castro Ledo of TTL Esports and CoRe SimRacing. The Vendaval White car driven by Kekkonen was not far behind, taking the 8th spot on the grid. Lopez in the VS Yellow was not able to extract the complete potential out of the car, resulting in a 12th place qualifying effort.
The green flag flew just a few minutes after 14:00 GMT, and Esterson was quick to pounce and moved up to 2nd place, passing the CoRe SimRacing Audi in turn 2. Esterson continued in 2nd place for the remainder of his stint, pulling a small gap on Frederik Rasmussen of FA Racing G2 before coming in for the first pit stop.
Meanwhile, in the Vendaval White car, Kekkonen quickly moved up to 7th on the first lap. Before the first pitstop, he was able to move the car up into the 6th position. However, trouble struck early for the Vendaval Yellow machine after William Levesque made heavy contact with Lopez’s left front wheel, taking the #13 car out of the race.
Vendaval White and Blue continued on their way, both taking fuel and tires at the stop. Both dropped a few positions after some teams elected to skip tires in exchange for track position. Both Esterson and Kekkonen were able to make up some ground on the drivers with old tires and made it to the second pitstop in 3rd and 5th positions, respectively. At the second stop, Esterson stayed in the car and chose to not take tires, while Dekota Fripp hopped in the #9 car, taking fresh rubber after Kekkonen’s double stint.
Esterson then took the lead from Coanda Simport #8 on lap 66 after Mitchell DeJong chose to triple stint one set of tires. Esterson continued, and pitted on lap 89 handing the car over to teammate, Tatsuro Hashimoto. Dekota Fripp pitted soon after and remained in the car. Both cars exited the track in close proximity and began the 4th hour of the race. On lap 103, Hashimoto got caught in the spin of the Radicals Online BMW Z4 in Forest Elbow, causing over 10 minutes of repair, robbing the Blue car’s promising podium chance.
The White car continued the race, sticking to schedule, and keeping up the pace to have a shot at podium finish. However, the final hours of the race did not go without troubles. Dekota was involved in an incident created by a poor rejoin by a BMW, causing some front-end damage. During its penultimate pit stop the White car suffered from a refueling bug, costing up to 25 extra seconds on pitlane. However, they were able to battle back, finishing the race in a solid 6th place.
Final results for the three Vendaval entries:
Vendaval Yellow #13: DNF
Vendaval White #9: P6
Vendaval Blue #42: P28
RaceSpot TV broadcast replay of the race can be found here.
Next we head to the historic Sebring International Raceway on March 24, where we’ll be battling it out on the bumpy concrete. We showed promising top 5 speed in Round 1, and we hope to carry it into Sebring to try to score some more satisfying results.
With just two rounds to go in the BGT Pro Series Qualifiers, the odds of securing spots in the Blancpain Pro Series for the Vendaval Simracing Yellow (Dave Gelink, Juan Lopez, and Alex Manea) and Blue (Fabrice Cornelis, Robin Esterson, Tatsuro Hashimoto, and JP Lammi) teams are looking favorable. Sitting in 4th and 5th place in the standings, the Yellow and Blue teams have been able to accumulate a total of 1267 and 1283 points respectively. However, Vendaval Simracing Black got off to a rocky start in the first couple of rounds, and were unable to recover after internet issues, and after the unfortunate departure of the team founder, Adrian Hettich.
Round One of Six kicked off at 9am GMT on November 11 at the world famous Monza Grand Prix Circuit. A track primarily suited for cars with a high top speed, Monza was going to be quite a challenge for Vendaval’s trio of BMW Z4 GT3s, do to the car’s lacking straight-line speed compared to the Mercedes or McLaren. With that in mind, the Vendaval drivers knew that a quick qualifying run was crucial, as passing would be nearly impossible. After DNFs for the Yellow and Blue teams in the first race of the weekend, they were forced to regroup and rework the strategy before the next race, taking place just a few hours later. In the second race, the team was able to rebound; the Yellow team scored a 4th place finish, while the Blue team finished in 10th. Though the third race at Monza had a low strength of field, the Yellow team decided to race, finishing in 2nd, which gave them the most points for the weekend.
With less than a week before the next race at Silverstone, the team scrambled behind the scenes to get ready for Round Two. At 9GMT, qualifying began and Cornelis was able to qualify the Blue car in the top five, but Lopez made a few mistakes, and was a bit further back in the order, while CoRe Simracing’s Ricardo Castro Ledo dominated qualifying. At the start, Cornelis was able to make up a few positions, finding his way to 2nd place within a few laps. Meanwhile Lopez was stuck in a train of slower cars, so he took the opportunity to save as much fuel as possible. And at the front, Ledo of CoRe SimRacing continued the domination and stretched out his lead. After a great strategy call by Vendaval’s crew chief, Matti Kaidesoja, the Yellow car of Lopez found itself up into the 3rd position, right in its team mate’s trail. To finish off the race, Esterson and Gelink hopped in the cars at the last stop. With a 2nd and 3rd place finishes secured, the team made it a priority to just cross the finish line. However, with under 10 minutes to go, CoRe Simracing was robbed of their 50 second lead as a mass-server disconnect occurred. Though unlucky for CoRe, Vendaval would gladly take the 1-2 finish.
At Suzuka in Japan, Vendaval struggled to find the desirable performance out of the car, and along with PC issues for Lopez, the weekend was made difficult. The Blue car driven by Cornelis and Hashimoto was met with a DNF in the first race, but rebounded in the second race, managing to take a 6th place finish after a strong start by Cornelis, and excellent defending at the end of the race by Hashimoto. Because of computer issues, the Yellow car was unable to partake in the first two races of the weekend, leaving them with just the last race perform well. With Gelink carrying the load for this race, he was able to start the race off strong, and due to a lack of time to practice, Lopez made a few minor mistakes, but considering the circumstances, he did a very respectable job.
Two major endurance series has kicked off their seasons and we were able to achieve a bunch of great results from both of the opening races.
The inaugural season of the Sports Car Open by CoRe Simracing started October 8th at the Nürburgring where we came out with a near perfect result, clinching souvereign wins in both GTE and GT3 classes.
The prototype class saw a much closer race for the win with our HPD entry coming home in P2, only two seconds behind the winning Mivano Racing car.
Broadcast VOD for the round 1 can be found here.
Sports Car Open calendar has a total of five races each four hours long. Round two will be raced at Monza on 5th of November.
Vendaval lineups for Sports Car Open:
Juan E Lopez
The premier endurance league in iRacing, NEO Endurance Series fired up its fourth season on October 15th at the Sebring International Raceway.
Our GTE #52 entry took home the class win in a dominating fashion, starting on pole and extending their lead throughout the race to finish with a comfortable 24 second margin over the opposition.
In the Prototype class it was another podium finish as the #2 entry managed to secure P3 after defending off Mivano Racing’s late race charge.
The GTE #62 had a different kind of story, starting from rear of the grid their race quickly got even harder after getting involved in couple incidents and being called in for a stop-and-hold twice in the first 30 minutes of the race. From that point onward it was hard to recover and in the end they finished 27th in the GTE class.
You can watch the RaceSpot TV broadcast replay of the race here.
NES Season 4 features five 6h races and the 24 hours of Le Mans to finish the season. Next up will be the 6 hours of Road America on November 12th.
Vendaval lineups for NEO Endurance Series Season 4:
Juan E Lopez